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Fire Red Empress - Black Morphine Award winner

Fire Red Empress
Black Morphine
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 08 January 2018, 5:20 AM

FIRE RED EMPRESS’ debut album “Black Morphine” is fucking fire.  From beginning to end it rocks so hard I thought my head would implode.  Riffs for days, solid song writing skills, and stellar production help make this one of the best debuts I’ve heard within the last couple years. Had I received the promo earlier in the year, it very well may have knocked one of the albums from my Top 10 list. On top of all that, we have vocalist Jen Diehl.  I’m a sucker for bands with females at the helm and goddamn is she awesome.  It doesn’t matter if she is screaming her ass off, singing lithe, burning through a rock song or even slowing things down a bit…everything she does is passionate, energetic, and into the stratosphere.  The band itself is highly competent but if they are fire then she is the spark that ignites it all.

Dead Nature,” opens the album with some epic, somewhat grungy riffs. There is a Doom feel to them as well but a bit of an old school charm to them.  Carl and Paul are a well-oiled machine and can switch things up and play a variety of styles. One minute into the song, give or take, and Jen starts her magic.  Her clean vocals are clear and concise but there is a raw, almost hoarse sound to them at times.  I say at times because she can pretty much do anything with her voice.  Throughout the album she will do everything from yell, to scream, to croon.  “Dead Nature’s” guitar solo is very melodic and emotional, as are the melodic riffs that follow it.  The next song, “Giants,” is a Heavy Metal machine, throwing riffs out left and right while Jen shows a more spastic vocal attack, mixing singing, shouting, and screaming into one cohesive vocal attack.

Under The Barren Light,” is such a surprising track.  The clean guitar, which plays such a raw, open, melody, had me believing I might be hearing a ballad.  This was confirmed when the heartfelt voice broke though, or at least that is what I thought.  The song is so weird, but in a good way. Up until this point, it may had been a better Sheryl Crow song. Soon as I think something that stupid, the guitars kick in with heavy yet melodic tinged riffs.  The song gets higher and higher in intensity, as does Jen’s voice until it breaks again during the chorus with some awesome screams that go back into singing as easy as anything I’ve heard.  One of the best songs on the album. Next track, “Hail The Face,” tore off my face with its pounding drums, dense riffage, and a great chorus that effortlessly transitions back into rocking as hard as possible. I absolutely love the ending where the drums and guitars see who can get heavier while Jen screams from hell itself.

The title track, “Black Morphine,” is one part thrash, two parts groove machine, and three parts ball busting kick ass.  The tight as hell (and fast) riffing recalls the faster parts of ICED EARTH and the drumming is kicked into high gear.  The final track, “Maldoror Part 2” is a six minute long epic that covers all the bases of what makes a song so good.  Furious riffs, brutal vocals, sections of jamming, and a variety of Rock/Metal styles get thrown into a melting pot of pure rock fury that puts its foot on the gas and never lets up. Be it Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, whatever you want to call the one thing that is definite is this young band’s full length debut is an unbridled statement of balls to the walls, back breaking, bone crushing, love statement to all things heavy.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Dead Nature
2. Giants
3. Half..Bird Half Man
4. Under The Barren Light
5. Hail The Face
6. Seven
7. Black Morphine
8. The Little Death
9. Dear Mister
10. 11.59
11. Maldoror Part 1
12. Maldoror Part 2
Jen Diehl - Vocals
Carl Gethin - Guitar
Paul Gethin - Guitar
Ben Picken - Bass
Luke Middleton - Drums
Record Label: Polarian Records


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